Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not Yo Momma's VBS!


Amanda has been attending Vacation Bible School at another local church with a friend. As I was standing in line to pick her up the first night, I began to notice the elaborate decorations and props. 

Now, this is not unusual, our former church, and our current church all do VBS, and pull out all the stops when it comes to decorating and making the theme come alive.

It just made me think back to when I went to VBS, back in the olden days. Seriously, were we just that easy to please?

I remember our assembly/praise/worship time consisted of being in the sanctuary, singing the usual songs "Deep & Wide" for example. The lesson often included a mission theme - I particularly remember the year we focused on Japan, and they taught us to sing "Rolled Away" in Japanese. ( I still remember most of this but don't sing it out loud for fear I will remember it wrong and might accidentally insult someone!)

Our crafts were basic, and generally had no connection to the theme or country we were studying. I remember taking frozen orange juice cans (remember those?), painting them, putting some stickers on them, and presenting them to our Moms as pencil holders. I think my Mom still uses hers.

Snack time was on the grass outside the church. It consisted of sugar sweetened <gasp> Kool-Aid, and cookies that came out of a big bag. Chocolate chip, those coconut ones that looked like little planks, or our favorite - the butter cookies shaped like flowers with the hole in the middle.

The great mystery each day was what color Kool-Aid we would get - red was awesome, purple was gross. And, could you eat the flower cookie off your finger without breaking the ring?

We were just easily entertained? Have our kids gotten so high-tech that we have to do more, more, more to engage them? Has all this spilled over into our church life as well? 

It also made me think about how there were no Toys R Us stores when I was a kid. It was a great time when, before Christmas, all the stores had 3 or 4 rows dedicated to TOYS! (And this never happened until AFTER Thanksgiving!).

The toys that were in stores year round were simple things like jump ropes, kites, jacks, hula hoops, coloring books and paper dolls. Sears, Penny's, Roses (remember Roses?) had a big toy section for exactly one month out of the year, and that occurred around the time the Sears Wish Book hit the mail.

I just wonder if all our progress has really helped our kids, or hurt them. How many kids can be content to just play with a ball, or draw and color, or even pretend without an electronic gadget? How many parents spend way too much money trying to keep  their kids engaged with new technology?

And how much of that spending and providing is an attempt to compensate for less time spent with the kids?

Okay, I have pretty much just validated that I am ancient, old-fashioned (channeling June here) and most cannot relate. And, I am thankful that our churches are willing to spend the resources on our kids to reach out to them with the message. But I wonder if the message gets enhanced with all the flash or it gets lost. Something to consider.

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